Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine not troubled by variants to date, says CEO

One of the people behind the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine says he has but to see any proof that rising variants of the illness have discovered a strategy to defeat it.

Dr. Ugur Sahin, who based BioNTech with his spouse Dr. Özlem Türeci, informed CBC News Network’s Power & Politics at this time that scientists have two important considerations when it involves variants of the COVID-19 virus. 

“One concern is that some variants just have a higher infectivity and therefore it’s more difficult to control the pandemic,” Sahin informed visitor host David Common. “The second concern is that variants potentially could escape existing immune responses.”

To deal with the second concern, BioNTech’s group of researchers run checks on the vaccine’s effectiveness in opposition to particular person variants.

“So far, the data is really encouraging for all types of variants,” he stated. “We do not have any evidence that our vaccine would not work against any of the prevalent variants.”

While Sahin stated he’s assured his vaccine will deal with current variants, he stated his firm is consistently monitoring its effectiveness on new variants “to be on the safe side.”

BioNTech can also be researching attainable dangers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may current to pregnant ladies. 

Sahin stated that pregnant ladies have participated in vaccine trials — “mainly” ladies within the third trimester.

Limited knowledge on being pregnant impacts

“There is no indication for increased risk of death. But we have to see that this data is still early data,” he stated. “And therefore, any decision for taking the vaccine should be aligned with the physician based on an analysis of risk-benefit.”

As considerations concerning the threat of blood clots related with the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine have grown, many have requested whether or not these who have had a single shot of the AstraZeneca-Oxford product can take the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as their second shot.

Sahin stated his firm does not have knowledge to counsel mixing vaccines is protected however there may be proof that sufferers with antibodies ensuing from a COVID-19 an infection get higher safety as soon as they take the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. 

Dr. Ugur Sahin and Dr. Özlem Türeci, the husband-and-wife founders of the coronavirus vaccine developer BioNTech, pose for a photograph at an Axel Springer Award ceremony in March. (Associated Press/Bernd von Jutrczenka)

“The decision at the end of the day is a decision of the health institutions,” he stated. 

Asked concerning the impression his vaccine is having on the worldwide pandemic, Sahin stated it is a “fantastic feeling” to know he’s serving to so many people.

“We see the impact of our vaccine,” he stated. “We feel that this is a privilege, that as a scientist, we have accomplished something which is of benefit for mankind and benefit for our people.”

You can watch full episodes of Power & Politics on CBC Gem, the CBC’s streaming service.

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